‘Neighbour from hell’ caught cutting trees in dressing gown while looking ‘possessed’

A “neighbour from hell” has been found guilty of criminal damage after damaging trees that she said had been hanging over her garden fence

Julie Bontoft was caught on CCTV in her dressing gown, interfering with the branches of a tree belonging to her next-door neighbour.

In another video, the now fully-dressed 55-year-old can be seen looking up at the camera and pulling a bizarre expression which one neighbour said made her look "possessed"..

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According to another neighbour, the incident was part of the reason the owner of the trees moved away. Bontoft had denied the criminal damage charge and claimed the trees were "overhanging her property".

Bontoft was found to have damaged six trees to the value of £210 between February 19, 2021 and March 6, 2021, at a hearing at Beverley Magistrates' Court on Friday May 19, reports Hull Live, and was handed a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £620 in CPS costs after being convicted.

In a previous hearing, James Byatt, prosecuting, said the neighbour had CCTV footage that showed Bontoft reaching over the boundary and snapping off tree branches without lawful excuse.

Bontoft insisted that she had simply “pushed overhanging branches” back onto her neighbour's property without breaking off any branches or touching her property.

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CCTV footage has since shown Bontoft using a tool to damage the trees that separated their driveways. The court determined her actions did not amount to simply pruning the trees.

The guilty verdict was welcomed by disgruntled neighbours, who say they have a strained relationship with Bontoft. One neighbour said: "It was clear from the video she was doing it out of spite and she looked possessed when she looked into the camera.

"These are young trees and she is destroying them. She is just the neighbour from hell and it's good to see her with a criminal record after her behaviour was caught on camera.

"If she causes any more misery in the next 12 months, she will get a harsher sentence, which reassures us that she will think twice before acting out again."

Due to the complainant moving out of her home and away from Bontoft no compensation was ordered, as the trees now belong to someone else.


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